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[orthodox-synod] Re: Beauty and truth

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  • LJames6034@aol.com
    The Platonic Ideal of God as Beauty (see: Symposium 210-211), was expanded by the Middle Platonists to include the Beautiful/Good, which, it seems to me, was
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 31 5:22 AM
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      The Platonic Ideal of God as Beauty (see: Symposium 210-211), was expanded
      by the Middle Platonists to include the Beautiful/Good, which, it seems to
      me, was inherent in the Form of Beauty, which could only be "good".

      That intentional depiction of the Beautiful/Good as a means of embodying
      "truth," was at the heart of much of medieval philosophy and theology. One
      can actually see it, at Chartres Cathedral. That cathedral has been
      described as presenting the fullness of Western theology.

      Inside, if I am correct, the coloristic darkness is intended to express what
      Dylan Thomas in our day described as "the close and holy darkness." It also
      expresses that plane of darkness where there is nothing but God, Himself.

      My theory concerning Chartres is that, since (if memory serves) 8 of the
      clerestory windows show Christ blessing, and since (given their belief in
      extramission, i.e., that the light was coming FROM the windows, not through
      them) medieval churchmen had named the cathedral for Our Lady, the darkness
      in the nave at Chartres was intended to express the presence of Christ, in
      the womb of His Mother. At Chartres, Christ is coming into the world, in the
      darkness.

      Likewise, the coloristic darkness expresses that Dionysian ideal of getting
      beyond that which is material (even while that material substance is used as
      a device to lead us, as though by hand---manductio) upward towards that
      plane of darkness where there is utterly nothing, saving only God, Himself.
      There, in contemplation of that utter Beautiful/Goodness, we will come to
      rest.

      But, the beginning of it all is the appreciation of beauty.


      Father Andrew
    • Robert S Miller
      Very interesting, very evocative, Fr Andrew. Yet God is not darkness but Light, and Love. So what you wrote is lovely but then just a bit puzzling, in
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 31 10:14 AM
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        Very interesting, very evocative, Fr Andrew.
        Yet God is not darkness but Light, and Love.
        So what you wrote is lovely but then just
        a bit puzzling, in aftertaste.

        Joseph M

        ----------
        > From: LJames6034@...
        > To: orthodox-synod@egroups.com
        > Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: Beauty and truth
        > Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999 5:22 AM
        >
        > The Platonic Ideal of God as Beauty (see: Symposium 210-211), was
        expanded
        > by the Middle Platonists to include the Beautiful/Good, which, it seems
        to
        > me, was inherent in the Form of Beauty, which could only be "good".
        >
        > That intentional depiction of the Beautiful/Good as a means of
        embodying
        > "truth," was at the heart of much of medieval philosophy and theology.
        One
        > can actually see it, at Chartres Cathedral. That cathedral has been
        > described as presenting the fullness of Western theology.
        >
        > Inside, if I am correct, the coloristic darkness is intended to express
        what
        > Dylan Thomas in our day described as "the close and holy darkness." It
        also
        > expresses that plane of darkness where there is nothing but God,
        Himself.
        >
        > My theory concerning Chartres is that, since (if memory serves) 8 of the

        > clerestory windows show Christ blessing, and since (given their belief
        in
        > extramission, i.e., that the light was coming FROM the windows, not
        through
        > them) medieval churchmen had named the cathedral for Our Lady, the
        darkness
        > in the nave at Chartres was intended to express the presence of Christ,
        in
        > the womb of His Mother. At Chartres, Christ is coming into the world,
        in the
        > darkness.
        >
        > Likewise, the coloristic darkness expresses that Dionysian ideal of
        getting
        > beyond that which is material (even while that material substance is
        used as
        > a device to lead us, as though by hand---manductio) upward towards that

        > plane of darkness where there is utterly nothing, saving only God,
        Himself.
        > There, in contemplation of that utter Beautiful/Goodness, we will come
        to
        > rest.
        >
        > But, the beginning of it all is the appreciation of beauty.
        >
        >
        > Father Andrew
        >
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      • LJames6034@aol.com
        Joseph, At the risk of upsetting those who believe Pseudo-Dionysius was St. Paul s convert, Mars Hill, Athens, Greece, in the first century, let me just quote
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 31 12:13 PM
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          Joseph,

          At the risk of upsetting those who believe Pseudo-Dionysius was St. Paul's
          convert, Mars Hill, Athens, Greece, in the first century, let me just quote
          the man (who was a Syrian monk). The following is from On the Divine Names:
        • LJames6034@aol.com
          On The Divine Names: Unto this darkness which is beyond light we pray that we may come and may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 31 12:39 PM
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            On The Divine Names:

            'Unto this darkness which is beyond light we pray that we may come and
            may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and that, in
            ceasing thus to see or to know, we may learn to know that which is beyond all
            perception and understanding (for this emptying of our faculties is the true
            sight and knowledge) and that we may offer Him that which transcends all
            things the praises of a transcendant hymnody which we shall do by denying or
            removing all things that are. . . ascending upwards from particular to
            universal conceptions as we strip off all qualities in order that we may
            attain a naked knowledge of that Unknowing which in all existent things is
            enwrapped by all objects of knowledge, that we may begin to see that
            super-essential Darkness which is hidden by all the light that is in existent
            things."

            The apophatic theology of (Pseudo) Dionysius the Areopagite is, in some ways,
            more profound than positive theology, since, perforce, circumstanced as we
            currently are, we cannot know what God is, we can only know what God is
            NOT. Being Wholely Other, He is utterly beyond our comprehension. Hence,
            it is to that super-essential Darkness beyond the meritricious gaudiness of
            Existence that we are led, as by the divine hand, by the material things of
            this world.

            Dionysius joined together pancallistic nature with an aesthetic principle
            inherent in the notion that God Himself is the Form of Roms: The One
            Beautiful/Good, the Cause of all things, "flashing upon them all, like light,
            the beautifying communication of its originating ray. . . . "

            While it is the Light which draws us, in that all that God made is "good,"
            and reflects something of that Goodness, yet that Goodness dwells beyond any
            reality our minds can grasp. Hence, the reference to that "Plain of
            darkness," metaphorically speaking. The Beautiful/Goodness of God can be
            (sometimes barely) perceived in natural things. In other words: The
            architecture reveals the Architect, but the Architect is not in the
            architecture, though we see His effects. Adequately perceived, that beauty
            causes us to want to be with/in the Ultimate Beauty, Who is God.

            The image of a Plain of Darkness is not mine. It is Dionysisus'. Dionysius
            taught that: By putting off all extraneous properties and the interests of
            this world, we can come to be transformed by divine grace, becoming more and
            more like God, until, at length, we become God (theoedies) , without ceasing
            to be ourselves. And, thus, we can come to exist with Him, in Him, and
            through Him, where He is, beyond mere Being. We, thus, can come to enjoy
            the immediate Presence of the One Beautiful/Good, the only Truth.


            With apologies for having put my fingers on the wrong button, earlier,


            Father Andrew
          • Robert S Miller
            Thank you, Fr Andrew. Understood now, what your point of reference is. I have read very little of St Dionysios, which I should remedy. Bless. JM
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 31 6:15 PM
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              Thank you, Fr Andrew. Understood now, what your
              point of reference is. I have read very little of St Dionysios,
              which I should remedy.
              Bless.
              JM

              ----------
              > From: LJames6034@...
              > To: orthodox-synod@egroups.com
              > Subject: [orthodox-synod] Re: Beauty and truth
              > Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999 12:39 PM
              >
              > On The Divine Names:
            • LJames6034@aol.com
              It s OK, Joseph. I keep saying (and this is not just a rhetorical gesture): I know you to be a good soul. I believe that. Father Andrew
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 1, 1999
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                It's OK, Joseph. I keep saying (and this is not just a rhetorical gesture):
                "I know you to be a good soul."

                I believe that.


                Father Andrew
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